"The Making Of" by Brecht Evens (Drawn and Quarterly)
The work of Belgian cartoonist Brecht Evens arrived on English-speaking shores impressively with "The Wrong Place," and in "The Making Of" he furthers his observations regarding the effects of a single ego on a community by turning to a satire of the art world as his vehicle.
Peterson is a known artist who does some teaching, some partying, and is invited to take part in the Beerpoele Biennial, which he believes will be a prestigious move forward. Unfortunately for Peterson, the organizer helms a motley crew of art dorks, and together they feel like your worst nightmare from a small town comics convention. Peterson's tactic is to seize the moment and create a group project that puts him at the center of conception and attention, as he has to navigate the personalities of his goofy crew of fabricators and deal with his mocking girlfriend long distance.
Interpersonal relationships and emotions among the crew and the piece of art to be realized both take on the role of Peterson's clumsy artwork in progress, and the entire venture comes to a head with a congenial heartache, both publicly and behind the scenes. Evens is certainly making a statement about the art world and its cult of personality, but he's also making one about color. With his typical bright interpretations attached to each member of the cast, Evens makes plain that each has a vibrancy, an aura of their own, and, like a rainbow, when mixed together create a multi-hued variety of human emotion and experience in the form of one drama.
"Fanny and Romeo" by Yves Pelletier and Pascal Girard (Conundrum Press)
The concept of pets as replacement children is well worn, even as surrogate mates, but what about stand-in paramours? Author Yves Pelletier and artist Pascal Girard investigate this whimsical possibly with a relationship slice of life in Quebec.
The story centers on live-in couple Fanny and Fabien, who seem to have reached the ceiling in their relationship thanks to different feelings about children -- one wants them, onedoesn't. A chance encounter with a charming tom cat at her friend's apartment ignites the sparks, and when the friend has to leave town for a year and needs a cat sitter, the affair is in full swing, right in Fabien's sight.
What unfolds is a low-key relationship comedy of jealousy, real and imagined, and the harrowing realities of making ultimatums in love. Is Fanny embracing a better partnership with her feline friend, or is she setting herself up for more heartache? The answers lead to more gray areas in human nature, as well as a charming graphic novel that takes no sides in the male-female tug of war in relationships, just amusement.